Somewhat densely plotted, this is nonetheless an intriguing study of Hamas’ tortuous movement from “pebbles to power…from...

HAMAS

FROM RESISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT

Historical survey rather than a polemical view of the problematic Islamist movement that has both sounded the Palestinians’ needs and plagued Israel since the group's founding in 1987.

In this capable, evenhanded work of research, proficiently translated from the Italian, journalist and historian Caridi carefully tracks the founding of Hamas from its offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood to its West-defining period of terrorism to its eventual, effectual embrace of political representation since 2006. With the de facto protectorate of Egypt over the Palestinian territories after Israel’s 1967 war, the Gaza Strip became the locus of the Islamic resistance movement that evolved from the Muslim Brotherhood, implementing social programs as well as political education in rebuilding the Palestinian identity. The First Intifada of 1987 ignited Hamas and prompted its fledgling leaders to the nettlesome Palestinian National Congress, calling for the elimination of Zionism, which has stuck in Israel’s craw ever since, proving nothing but an embarrassment to the movement. Caridi claims that the Charter’s “significance has in actual fact been overestimated,” and more or less supplanted by more conciliatory language once Hamas acquiesced to participate in elections in 2006, yet the anti-Israel phrasing was never revoked. Women make up a good half of its membership, although polygamy is accepted and the wearing of the hijab expected; terrorism in the form of suicide bombing was activated in retaliation for Baruch Goldstein’s shooting inside Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994, killing 29 Muslims; and the movement has stubbornly opposed the Oslo peace negotiations. Hamas’ relationship with Fatah (Yasser Arafat’s political organization) has been prickly, and its 2006 election victory has brought it to power as well as to grief.

Somewhat densely plotted, this is nonetheless an intriguing study of Hamas’ tortuous movement from “pebbles to power…from terrorist attacks to ministries.”

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60980-382-7

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Seven Stories

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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